In many developing countries, natural gas, wood, or biomass fired cookstoves find prolific usage. These cookstoves are constructed without paying much too attention to their thermal efficiency. In this study, a computational heat transfer analysis of a generic third-world cookstove is conducted with the goal to understand the effect of various operating conditions and geometric parameters on the overall heat transfer characteristics and thermal efficiency. A Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model, including turbulence and heat transfer by all three modes, was first created. The model was first validated against experimental data, also collected as part of this study. Unknown parameters in the model were calibrated to better match experimental observations. It is generally believed that placing a skirt around the stove and cook-pot enhances thermal efficiency. The model was explored to study the effects several skirt-related parameters. These include the vertical position of the skirt, the width of the gap between the skirt and the cook-pot, and the thermal conductivity of the skirt (insulating vs. conducting material). It was found that the skirt must either be made out of an insulating material or insulated on the outer surface for it to provide maximum benefits. It was also found that it must be placed at an optimum distance away from the cook-pot for maximum thermal efficiency.

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